Saturday, November 24, 2007

Blah Days

There are blah days when whatever you draw or paint just doesn't seem to work and you can't fathom why. Yesterday it was like that at Portraiture despite the fact that we had a very good model called Anne who works for the antique dealer down the road. I spent nearly two hours becoming increasingly frustrated with my sketches of her as I seemed to regress to my poor standard of two months ago. However for the last drawing I decided just to concentrate on her face and this turned out a fair likeness which even Anne liked.

Today has been the same. I have been working on two still life paintings for my course working light to dark for the first and visa versa for the second. Each was not meant to take more than an hour but they did and I still think they're horrible. I will give myself 30 minutes more to finish them this evening and then put them away. If I can complete twelve exercises in nude drawing tomorrow and Monday I will be able to send away my first Stage One folder on Tuesday and finally be assigned my new mentor.

Perhaps it's the heat or perhaps it's the blahs that hit us all from time to time but I even lost patience with a film I'd taped last night. Managed to watch 30 minutes of "Hotel Paradiso" starring Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson but it was so execrable I turned it off. Certainly not up to the standard of The Young Ones with two many violent gags even for my stomach. Sometimes it's better just to read a good book.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sketching Out Of Doors

A small group of the Wednesday painting group had decided to visit an old homestead at Ashcott near Waipukurau for a sketching session this week. Glenys and I arrived earlier than the others and were allowed to sit in the big circular driveway in front of the old house. The homestead looked as if it had been built around the time of the First World War as it had the hybrid look between a villa and a bungelow. Now owned by an extremely rich Wellington family who only come up for the occasional weekend it has a full time housekeeper and a gardener who works there four days a week. The day we were there several other men were working there, trimming trees, planting a huge tree fern and mowing the lawns.

When Helen arrived with another painter we unloaded our gear and wandered between the high hedges and flower gardens until we stood on a large back lawn edged with trees overlooking an old dam up to the mountains. For the first hour we were incapable of working as we wandered in awe around the property looking at all the sculpture dotted amongst the trees. I was particularly fascinated by a stone gateway fashioned into the shape of a circle which led to a ponga edged pathway leading down to a rustic bridge fashioned from huge pieces of driftwood. It looked like something out of Hobbiton and it turned out that one of the men working there that day had built it and he was the tree man on the Lord of the Rings movies. Very talented guy but so down to earth- MiddleEarth!

In the end we broke for morning tea to work out where we'd sketch. While Jacqueline fed us pieces of dark chocolate Glenys and I decided to draw the old stables which lay to the side of the garden amongst mature trees. We were both so nervous about attempting a building but ended up very pleased with out efforts. After being so reluctant to come Glenys is now keen to go on any other sketching trips that are arranged over the summer. I took quite a few photos for references before we broke for a picnic lunch sitting under a tree by the dam looking up to the ranges in the west. By this time we were so mellow we didn't have the energy to do any more work so five of us left at 1pm.

This property is not open to the public so we were very fortunate to be allowed in to share the beauty of this lovely place. What's more Helen is certain we'll be allowed back. Now the search is on for our next garden to sketch in.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

First Life Drawing Class

Been a frantic rush this week to complete work for the Creative Hastings Christmas Sale. Spent Wednesday morning at art group working on a tiger pendant and have since completed three other pendants and a brooch which is not alot of work when you think about it. The paua to the left had such beautiful colours in the shell it really called out for a watery subject. I enjoy painting goldfish although I have yet to put one on canvas.

Strangely enough I have never painted a German Shepherd despite, or rather because, my brother has always kept them. He is so fussy with how they're portrayed that I've been too intimidated to try but I have finally decided to have a go.

When painting pendants I have to think what will sell as I've had a few subjects that take a while to go. Mini lops are very popular at the moment so hopefully this little guy will find a home pretty quickly.

Had another go at a unusual cat brooch in Christmas colours as we're only a few weeks away from the silly season. I thought I was doing so well with this one as I had base coated the main colours by Wednesday evening. However I then found I had done it upside down so that the brooch clip was at the bottom and not the top so had to paint the whole thing with several layers of white and begin again.

We had our first life drawing session at Otane on Friday which was very exciting. I am unsure as to whether to post any drawings here in case someone takes offense. Our model was in her sixties, totally uninhibited about being in the buff proudly showing her tattoos. I gave her the best of my drawings (with her sitting on a bar stool) but managed to keep some better ones where I sketched from down at her feet while she lay on her side. Good exercise in trying to cope with foreshortening. Even my feet looked like feet instead of bananas! Very exciting and can't wait until the next class in a month's time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Week That Was

After not managing to get to art group last week I was determined to make the portraiture class last Friday. This time the model was the antique dealer that Gina and I met after the open weekend. He brought along a book to read while he posed which he did mainly on a chair.
At one point he went into a meditation pose for twenty minutes and this turned out to be my best sketch of the day as it really captured what he is all about. Mid morning my back began to play up and I was unable to finish the last pose and had to leave ten minutes early. I think stretching up to draw on my easel didn't help matters.

Yesterday I called into Creative Hastings as Bev had a book on donkeys she wanted to show me. Really comical story originally published in Austria. We had a chat about my work and she has offered to take some items into a shop in Napier she thinks might be interested in selling them. I tried not to think that the Christmas Sale there begins in a week and I hardly have anything finished for it.........

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Brooches

I have begun working on a new line of brooches which I hope will sell at Quilt Works. At the moment they're taking a while to finish as I work out patterns and colours but I'm hoping I'll speed up once I get my ideas sorted.

This little man looks pretty startled but I think he'd look good on a black coat lapel. Demelza my black and white cat loves these brooches and steals them so she can hide them down behind the cushions on the armchairs. She also once sprayed a large painting I did so she really is my severest art critic!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Otane Open Weekend

Portraiture last week was slightly disappointing as our model didn't turn up. Everyone was looking forward to drawing her as she had many and various piercings! However we were lucky that Helen's granddaughter Megan was off school due to a dental appointment and she kindly modelled for two hours. Unfortunately I was not happy with any of my drawings as they were mostly of her back.

Saturday morning was the first day of the open weekend at Otane Arts and Crafts. Gina collected me early and we arrived just after opening. The exhibition looked fantastic with a great range of styles and subjects displayed. In the end I had six paintings on show as Donna had brought the patchwork series ones back from Quilt Works.

The first morning we gave a display of our drawing abilities. There were only four of us from the usual Friday portraiture group and I was encouraged to be the first model. For forty five minutes I sat in a very comfy armchair on top of the posing platform. Then Owen had a try and finally Gina took the stage until lunchtime. This is my favourite drawing of her where she was leaning back against the cushions.
Quite a crowd came through the rooms that day as there was a bull riding event nearby. Listening to some of the comments was interesting to say the least.

Gina and I left shortly after 2.30pm but on the way stopped in at a beautiful old homestead which doubles as an antiques shop. The owner was very friendly and took us through the rooms he has set up with all the furniture and collectables. How I wish I were rich- especially as he was having a 50% off sale. Had an interesting conversation concerning ACC as he is also having a battle to get compensation (for a back injury). He is also a Tibetan Buddhist which was of greater interest to me, he had even attended a class taken by the Dalai Lama in Auckland this year. Strangely enough Gina and I had been talking about Tibet on our journey to Otane that morning.

By the time we reached my road it was beginning to cloud over. We dropped in on Gaye and had a cup of tea out on the lawn in front of her jasmine vine. Rachel and Korbus dropped in on their way back from town and kindly gave me a lift when they went home.

Next morning I could barely move so spent an hour with a hot water bottle stuck to my back feeding up on painkillers. Glenys arrived just before midday and we got to Otane at lunchtime. Not such a big crowd on that day and as I was not in the mood to do much painting I spent time talking to people. Even my cousin Elaine came for an hour to view the exhibition.

I had been told that not many paintings sell at the open weekend but three people did sell (all landscapes). I won the People's Choice Award! I have no idea who voted for my work but I was very chuffed. Apparently I will get a prize but as I was too unwell to make it to art group today I have no idea what it was.

I got home at 5pm and fed the animals and barely had time to get changed before Rachel and family picked me up and we went to Gaye's for an alfresco meal. Gina's husband Gareth tricked us by saying that he could hear the oncoming thunder storm in the electrical wires out the back. We all rushed out to listen to the very loud humming but of course it wasn't the wires at all but the grass grubs flying around!

We went inside for dessert and a cuppa. Very relaxed conversation which went on till late. Getting into the car we could hear the morepork calling in the trees just beside Gaye's house. I think I arrived home at 10.30pm and rolled into bed nearer midnight. My social gallavanting has taken its toll of me I'm afraid as I have barely been able to do anything this week.

Some good news- I received a cheque for a brooch from Electra Gallery today. Also Waddle Inn sold one last weekend and although they're sending back a couple of pendants and some cards they've ordered more which they will pay for outright instead of taking them on consignment. Also I have cat brooches in Katz Gallery in Masterton and these will be for sale from Friday. I also have three tentative orders for paintings but won't count my chickens till they're hatched!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I have been so incredibly busy this past week I haven't even had time to post last Friday's drawings from portraiture. Our model was called Jim/James/Sam and he rents a cottage just down the road from me. Apparently he has modelled for the group twice before which was obvious as he didn't need telling of how to pose. He was incredibly patient and even held one position for 30 minutes. He was also intrigued that I included the bandaid on his arm in my picture.

I have found that I actually enjoy drawing men much more than I thought I would. Especially older ones whose faces have that lived in look. Perhaps it's because it's more of a challenge for me. Up until this class my males looked very girly.

In the last pose of the day Jim lay on some cushions and as he needed somewhere to focus his gaze he decided to look at me. Very hard to concentrate for whenever I looked up he was staring at me, and then he decided to flirt. Obviously I'm still big with the over fifties!

Wednesday Art at Otane was spent hanging works for the open weekend on the 3rd and 4th. I took my two little ones down there but had forgotten to take some sellotape to fasten the title cards to the paintings. Fortunately there were people there willing to help out if you didn't have something. A massive range of work on display with some wonderful flower and animal pictures plus Tom had entered a painting of a Catalina plane like the one my Dad flew in during the war. There are still not enough works on display so Donna is retrieving my four patchwork paintings from Quilt Works and I'll hang those tomorrow.

I also received my first lot of work for Stage 1 of the Honours Diploma at The Learning Connexion this week. Haven't even had time to look at it yet. However the work sounds more challenging and at this level they concentrate on helping you develop your style. Just have to get funding arranged now but have finally got an appointment for a TIA application next week.